- Getting noticed on LinkedIn is an important part of any job search.
- LinkedIn's vice president of product, Blake Barnes, shared how to stand out to recruiters on the site.
- The key is to have useful keywords in your profile, highlight your skills, and be strategic about engaging with recruiters.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
With the US seeing record high levels of unemployment in the past year, it's been tough for those looking for work. But as remote work continues to shift the job search to digital platforms, LinkedIn is the first place many look to get hired.
The online networking platform has reported more than 14 million jobs available on its website, with one person getting hired every three minutes as of November.
According to Blake Barnes, vice president of product at LinkedIn, that's a source of hope for those who have been impacted by the COVID-era job market.
"There's good news there," Barnes told Insider.
To ensure you're using your LinkedIn profile to its full potential, there are a few tweaks you can make to ensure it captures the attention of recruiters. Barnes advised that job seekers mark their profile as open to work and use specific words.
Here's his best advice for optimizing your LinkedIn profile in the new year.
Mark yourself as #OpenToWork
There's often a stigma associated with being unemployed — but there doesn't have to be.
"It's not anyone's fault these days that they might have been laid off," Barnes said.
That stigma can actually prevent people from publicly sharing their job search and putting themselves out there online. Job seekers can use the #OpenToWork banner on their LinkedIn profile pictures to show recruiters that they're looking for new job opportunities.
More than three million members have chosen to take their job searching status public and use a public banner on their profile, Barnes told Insider.
You can also specify what kind of work you're open to, filtering by time commitment, geographic area, and job title, and turn on job alerts to stay on top of new opportunities.
If you're still nervous about publicly showing you're open to work, make your status viewable to only recruiters, excluding people in your network or your current employer.
Read more: Experts say a counterintuitive management strategy used by top tech companies like Google and Facebook can yield major benefits
Highlight your hard and soft skills
Recruiters find prospective hires by looking up certain skills. That's why it's especially important to make sure that they're listed in your profile for recruiters to find.
Barnes recommends spotlighting skills that recruiters are likely to search for, and to verify the skills you're listing through LinkedIn's skills assessments, which can help to demonstrate your skills.
Hard skills recruiters are on the hunt for right now include blockchain, cloud computing, and analytical reasoning. Soft skills they're seeking include creativity, persuasion, and adaptability.
Use words to describe your current experience that recruiters will search for
Similarly, job recruiters will be looking for specific job titles in LinkedIn headlines, which is why it's important to keep your job headline updated.
If your company has specific jargon for positions, make sure that the words in your LinkedIn profile aren't specific to your company but easily searchable to the general public. For example, Barnes said, if your company calls you a "data ninja" but your job description best fits what others would call a "data scientist," it's best to list that in your headline instead.
And for recent graduates or job seekers who have had substantial gaps in employment, it's perfectly fine to include volunteer experiences or internships.
Accept messages from recruiters
Now your profile is up to date and recruiters might start to reach out. Be on the lookout for a message from a recruiter that could lead to a valuable conversation. Make sure you accept their messages, even if you're not immediately interested in the opportunity.
"You might be able to have a conversation that goes somewhere," Barnes said.
It might not always mean a job offer, but it could if you play your cards right — and it also gives you valuable experience and advice to share when it comes to the job hunting process.
Read more: A cold email from a Twitter employee to the head of HR got the sender her dream job. Here's exactly why the message stood out among a sea of requests.
Start conversations with recruiters and hiring managers
You can also take initiative and start the conversation with a recruiter you're interested in. If you do, just be sure that your profile is filled out and ready for them to look over.
In your initial message, maintain a professional tone. LinkedIn previously shared a networking template that you can use to reach out to recruiters.
"Be friendly, be courteous, and be direct," Barnes said. "It's really about establishing why the recruiter should care. Recruiters are busy people."
And, above all, don't lose hope in the job search, even if you're going through a challenging period. It's normal to doubt yourself, according to Barnes, but your efforts should pay off eventually.
"I would encourage job seekers to be prepared to have ups and downs and have moments of self-doubt," he said. "That's quite natural and human."
Read more: A LinkedIn message took 2 minutes to write and got the sender a job at a successful startup — even though they weren't hiring
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